In 2018, almost 10% of marriages had ended by age 30. It’s no secret that the divorce rate is high in American culture. 

If you are on the verge of going through a divorce, you should have a solid understanding of the legal process. For instance, how long does a divorce take? This is an especially important question because you need to know how expensive it will be to hire divorce lawyers and why it takes so long. 

Here’s a timeline of how long it takes. 

Separation and Petition

In some states, couples must be separated for more than a year before they can get a divorce. This separation is typically called a waiting period. 

Not all states have this regulation, and some are getting rid of this waiting period to allow for couples to get divorced sooner. 

After the separation, one or both of the spouses must file for a divorce. If the couple jointly files they can give the judge a property and custody arrangement that makes the process quicker. However, if it is contested, it means one spouse and their lawyer summons the other spouse to appear in court. 

For more information on divorce cases, you should read the 5 things you should know about divorce cases in 2020

Property and Custody Issues

How long it takes depends on property and custody issues between the two parties. It also depends on if a mediator needs to be brought in to settle these issues. 

If the couple cannot decide on who gets what, especially if there are children involved, then a judge must decide for them. 

If lawyers are present, they will present a case for why a spouse should get property or custody. A witness may be called in court and children may be asked which parent they prefer to live with. 

After the court proceedings, a judge will rule what spouse gets property and custody. 

Typically, you must wait between 30 and 120 days from the date it is filed depending on what you state you live in. 

However, if it is contested and there are property and custody issues, the divorce could take longer than 120 days. It depends on if there is a mediator involved or when one spouse is ready to move forward.  

Overall, filing paperwork is one small step in what could be a complicated and very long procedure. 

Why It’s Important to Know the Answer to “How Long Does a Divorce Take”

If you are going through a separation period before a divorce, you should know the answer to “how long does it take to get a divorce?” especially if you live in a state with a waiting period. 

Divorces can be complicated and messy, but the process will be much smoother if you know what you are doing during these situations. 

If you’re unsure of how to handle a divorce or have other questions about divorce, contact us here